Safe Ways to Validate Your Performance

Prospective employers often ask for references, but you should think twice before furnishing anyone a copy of your performance review.

The issue was recently raised on the Dice discussion boards by Barney_R. A prospective employer asked him to bring a copy of his last review to an interview. Here’s his post.

I recently sent a resume to an employer, and they called me back to set up an interview. They asked me to bring a copy of my last performance review to the interview. My last review wasn’t bad, but I don’t want to hand it over; I just feel it contains too much personal information for an interview. Should I just say that my company doesn’t do formal reviews? Will that make my company seem less rigorous? How would you handle this situation? Thanks in advance for your help.

The information in your review is proprietary and giving a prospective boss access to the document allows him to scrutinize every task you performed and read you manager’s subjective comments; which is more information than he needs. In addition, performance plans are controlled documents, because they often detail a company’s technical infrastructure and business objectives.

Rather than lying, explain that your review is confidential and ask if a reference will suffice. If you understand why the employer needs the information, you can suggest an alternate source to validate your experience. It’s okay to divulge your rating from your last performance review or to reveal the top two or three goals in your plan or you can provide a copy of your job description to validate your experience. Peer references or a letter from a previous boss may also satisfy the curiosity of an inquisitive interviewer and feel free to provide copies of complimentary e-mails or awards you’ve received, but keep your actual performance review to yourself.